tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC September 20, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PDT
do republicans know the real rosa parks? plus, an update on the hunger strike in chicago. and -- tv is now in color. but first, last night's epic intersectional speech by president obama. ♪ good morning, i'm melissa harris perry. last night president obama addressed a packed ballroom on the final night of the annual sledge legislative conference of the congressional black caucus. this is the sixth time that he has spoken at the event. but he has never done so quite like this before.
>> women were the foot soldiers. women strategyizized boycotts. women organized marches. even if they weren't allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day. doing the work that nobody else wanted to do. >> yes, president obama devoted the bulk of his speech last night to naming the contributions of black women to american history, and mapping the continuing vulnerabilities that black women face today. >> because all of us are beneficiaries of a long line of strong black women who helped carry this country forward. they worked to expand civil rights, open the doors of opportunity, not just for african-americans but for all wom
women, for all of us, black and white, latino and asian, lgbt and straight. >> now this is not entirely new. remember back to 2008, the night he was elected president of the united states. then senator obama told the story of ann nixon cooper. cooper was 106-year-old black women living in georgia who vigorously supported his candidacy. she was born in 1902 and was a civil rights advocate, a community leader, a mother and a wife. and as he marked the moment of his historic victory, senator obama chose cooper as the lens through which to tell the story of america. he tied her personal story both to the arc of the nation's history and to the future enbodied in his own african-american daughters. never before had a president invited us to see our national history through the lens of a disenfranchised black woman. so in a serp way he's done this before but again, never quite like last night. because last night the president
said we must measure the very quality of our democracy by the opportunities and experiences of black women. >> so we all have to be louder than the voices that are telling our girls they're not good enough, that they've got to look a certain way or they've got to act a person way, or set their goals at a certain level. we've got to affirm their sense of self-worth and make them feel visible and beautiful and understood and loved. and i say this as a father who strives to do this at home but i also say this as a citizen. this is not just about my family or yours, it is about who we are as a people, who we want to be and and how we can make sure that america is fulfilling its promise. >> so as groundbreaking as his otherer to was, the president did far more than just spin lofty pros.
he offered clear policy areas that must be addressed in order to advance ecwiquity and fairne for the black women who have done so much for the country. he criticized efforts to defund planned parenthood and to thereby deny women critical health care access. he articulated the distinct challenges facing women and girls in the mass incarceration system and he called for new tools to prevent and punish sexual assault. his speech rendered visible the lost profits of american democracy. black women like barbara jordan and shirley chism and the thousands of black women a activists whose names history failed to record, and whose words we have almost wholly forgotten. but last night the president of the united states saw these women. he called their names and he assured us they are not forgotten. >> like every parent, i can't help to see the world
increasingly through my daughters' eyes. i thought about all those women who came before us who risked everything for life and lisbert and pursuit of happiness, so often without notice, so often without fanfare, their names never made the history books. all those women who cleaned somebody else's house or looked after somebody else's children, did somebody else's laundry, then got home and did it again, then went to church and cooked and then they were marching. >> and then the president made it clear that this is not just about history. black women will not be forgotten today. especially in our nation's public policy. zblm >> i want to talk about what more we have to do to provide full opportunity and equality for our black women and girls in america today. >> joining me now, valerie jarrett, senior advisor to the president. and chair of the white house council on women and girls. thank you so much for being here this morning. >> my pleasure, melissa.
thank you for putting this spotlight on the president's speech last night. >> i was sitting with some folks from the national urban league and frwe almost fainted because don't think we've ever quite heard any person at this level, but certainly not a president, focus on african-american women in this way. why did the president decide to take this focus? >> well, i think, melissa, he recognizes that oftentimes the average person isn't aware of the contributions that african-american women have played to our society and so it was a bit of a history lesson in terms of the civil rights leader marches and how segregated they were, where women weren't even allowed to march on the same street as men, yet they were the underpinning of the movement. women have made a lot of progress, women of color. our high school graduation rates are going up, our drop-out rates are going down, teenage pregnancy is going down, entrepreneurship is flourishing among women of color. but yet there are still december
spa blsh still disparitied that have to be addressed. he didn't just leave it in a celebratory place, also talked very clearly about the collective public policy efforts that are necessary. one of them was he specifically talked about health disparities and the need for health care access. tell me a little bit about how the president understands obamacare as being part of that and what other suspects of health care the president is looking toward. >> well, sure. we now know as a result of obamacare 12 million women of color now have access to health care. we know women always put themselves last. that's why preventive care is such an important part of the affordable care act so that now women can go in for their annual checkups without a co-pay. we know that african-american women have disparities in health care, chronic illnesses disproportionally among women of color, whether it is breast cancer or cervical cancer or
hiv, all illnesses that, if caught early, can be treated and in many cases cured. and so it is so important that we appreciate how important health is and that these disparities are eradicated. and the affordable care act helps us do that. >> yesterday on the show we talked about this forceful and interesting new direction that the administration is going around criminal justice reform. last night the president was very clear that this is not just an issue about men and men of color, but also very much about women and girls. i know that you had the opportunity to visit a girls juvenile detention center. i'm wondering, from that experience what lessons you took and what happens are sharing within the context of the administration about how we should address criminal justice reform when it comes to girls. >> we do have to work on reform being the overall system. you're right, a few weeks ago i kw was out in compton. i first visited a juvenile court
where many of the girls being picked up for a range rf crimes, including prostitution, were vic tms victims of human trafficking. they're trying to give these girls of kind of services they need to rehabilitate themselves and get rid of these charges. fact that these young girls are being picked up on the street, being preyed are upon by pirmps put out for really the commercial sexual exploitation of girls, then of course it would be no wonder they would get caught up into the system. we focused on the sexual abuse to prison pipelines the same way we have to focus on the school to prison pipeline. girls of color are too often suspended and expelled from schools at disproportionately high levels. we need to keep them in the classroom because we know if they're out on the street that's going to lead to the system. i also had a chance to visit with a group of women who had been previously incarcerated,
and their extraordinarily sear something stories about what in their child head led them to prison and you begin to understand the cost to them and their families from incarceration, but also the loss to society by not having people as productive members of society. the president mentioned when he visited with the men, when he visited oklahoma pen tensionally earlier this summer as well that the men talked about the impact their incarceration was having on the women and children in their lives. and so we have to fix the system not just for the people who are incarcerated, not just for the pipeline heading that way but for society as well. not to mention the $80 billion a year we are spending on incarceration. should we spend that money on early childhood education? should we make college for affordable? should we pay our teachers a higher sk higher salary? there's so much more what he e do. >> the president made it very clear as well that issues of stereotypes and shaming are
important. he even drew on some of the stories that the first lady has previously told about the effect of shaming stereotypes in her own life. i'm wondering why the president also felt that was an important issue to bring out last night. >> well, because we can't ignore it, that no matter how talented our young people are, sometimes they're not seen through the lens that they should be seen through. the first lady gave a very powerful speech -- commencement speech at tuskegee university earlier this summer. she said look, even as first lady, people say hurtful things. you have to have the inner resilience to know who you are, empower yourself and not let what over people say about you or how they treat you affect your energy and commitment and resilience and determination. i think these are all lessons for not just the african-american community here but for all of us as citizens of america in order for us to be
that more perfect union we have to focus on wraz ays to ensure everybody has an equal opportunity, access to health care, and focusing on our youngest children who are often put on a path where incarceration seems normal. one of the moving moments in the movie that you watched that's going to be airing on hbo, the vice move, was when the president said, we can't look at it as normal to have this number of people incarcerated in our system. we have to break that cycle. >> thank you, valerie jarrett. i don't know if you saw how people were reacting in that room last night. >> i did. >> it was extraordinary to see african-american women being recognized by their president in that way. it was really an incredible moment as a citizen and i just want to say thank you for waking up early and joining us this morning from washington, d.c. >> my pleasure. my pleasure. it was uplifting. >> it was. it was something. up next, the president addresses the unique
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on saturday, we discussed our president obama is chartering a decidedly different course than his predecessors on the issue of criminal justice reform. lat night the president took another historic step by specifically addressing the unique vulnerabilities of black girls and women. >> although in these discussions a lot of my focus has been on african-american men and the work we are doing with my brother's keeper, we can't forget the impact that the system has on women as well. the incarceration rate for black women is twice as high as the rate for white women. we don't often talk about how society treats black women and girls before they end up in
prison. they're suspending at higher rates than white boys and all other girls. and while boys face the school to prison pipeline, a lot of girls are facing a more sinister sexual abuse to prison pipeline. >> the sexual assault to prison pipeline is the key insight and title of a report produced this summer. we first brought you the findings of this report right here on mhp show back in july. joining me, the ceo and president of the foundation for women and brittany cooper, of rutgers university and contributor to salon.com. thank you for answering the senate i sent out overnight after listening to this talk. but were you surprised to hear the president name check the report in this epic speech? >> when it first came across i said he's talking about black women? really?
then when he named the sex abuse to prison pipeline, i couldn't have been more proud because it is a conversation much like the conversation that we're having about the missing names of black women and the missing recognition of black women. the reality of what's happening with young girls of color and how our system is perpetuating what happens to them and how they get involved in the prison pipeline. >> brittany, for me, that willingness to go to a very specific moment -- because we do hear african-american male leaders do a kind of pedestal work, oh, these -- these mothers of the movement who sit up here on the pedestal somewhere. but what the president did in name checking this particular report was to talk about what we know from the research that legitimately makes the lives of women and girls different, vulnerable in a different way. not more or less but in a different way. >> this is such an interesting moment for intersectional politics. right? right. so we're using the lives of
black women and girls to move conversations not only about the state of women in the country but also about the state of black men which is only thing black men have been saying for years. right? when you help black women and girls that you help everybody. >> whether and where i enter. >> it is a cooper moment at salon. right? when we talk about mass incarceration, if we talk about black women and girls we necessarily have to have a conversation about what's happening with black men. if we talk about wage\s then we necessarily have to have conversation about how black men are affected. if we talk about health care, we have to talk about how black women move conversations in black communities even if they suffer from lack of health care access. it is such a sister citizen moment, too. because politics of recognition. my question becomes, what -- like will we see it happen in the substantive policy changes? >> this i think is a meaningful question. the first thing is kind even noticing that it's happening.
second thing is to start getting to a moment of addressing it. i want to go back to the report just to remind folks in case they were on vacation in july that that sexual assault to prison pipeline, what it is. when you say that, when the report refers to it. what exactly is that pipeline? >> it looked at young girls and women who are in the criminal justice system and how they got in to that system and why they got in to that system. it reflects the fact that girls are being recognized for truancy and getting picked up for a whole bunch of variety of different issues, and they are then getting put into the juvenile justice system, the juvenile justice system is ill prepared to address what is going on in their lives, and sometimes their recognition that they're being bad girls is actually more symbolic of what is happening. they could be around sex abuse. and then they get into the system and they are abused even further by the system who is not
responsive to the needs of these young girls. >> right. they're actually being punished for having been victims. >> right. and repunished. >> then repunished. for me, kind ever part of the emotional moment i had while interesting, the president repeatedly -- he talked about the sexual assault to prison pipeline. he then talked about the need to address sexual assault through the criminal justice system. he also talked about the need to address it on college campuses. not necessarily as a clear policy proposal in that moment but changing that notion that if you are a victim or a survivor of sexual assault that you are what is bad, you are the problem. >> absolutely. what i loved was that there was a curious for him, lack of respectability politics here. it is odd but he really talked about structural invisibility in a way that we have seen. again, it becomes the point that it is hard when you look at the conditions black women are facing to blame them. here is the other way that then
his family humanizes this narrative. finally he says, look. i live with a bunch of black women. i care about how they're doing. that becomes the first line of empathy and it really put the meat on the bones of this so that all of a sudden now we can say this, if you are harassed at school and no one helps you, then, no, you don't want to keep going back to school. then you get put in prison because you're truant. but we had to have someone talk about how black women and girls are feeling. one thing your book was so helpful to me on this point, you said look, black women's feelings matter for politics. right? >> and yet it was so important on one hand the president said, look, everybody lives around me is an african-american woman. but he said it is not just about me and my family, it is about the country, it is about the question of citizenship. and thank you. because that research being there, that work being there is the thing that then allows the president to highlight it. thank you to you both for being here. up next, the president shows some love for one of the democratic presidential contenders.
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last night the president said addressing economic injustice, specifically the wage gap, is central to who we are as americans. he offered a close to home example of our gendered practices around pay when he advocated for a salary for first ladies. >> that's not just a woman's issue. that's everybody's issue. i want michelle getting paid at some point. >> the president then took a moment on stage to recognize a particular democratic presidential candidate who was sitting in the audience. >> we've got an outstanding former secretary of state here who was also former first lady and i know she can relate to michelle when she says how come -- how come you get paid and i don't?
how did that work? >> earlier that same morning, the former secretary of state was on stage at the new hampshire democratic party convention delivering some very favorable remarks about the president's tenure in office. >> he had to really work hard. under his leader -- and thanks to the sacrifice of so many americans -- we pulled back from the brink of depression, saved the auto industry, curbed wall street abuses and provided health care to 16 million people! president obama deserves a lot more credit than he gets for helping us avoid an economic catastrophe. >> hillary clinton's speech was the latest in a series of remarks that seem to suggest she's prepared to take on as her own and to run on the obama legacy. and perhaps by drawing her into
his speech last night, the president was nodding at that possibility as well. up next, the president weighs in on the $10 bill debate. and does the gop know the real rosa parks? when a wildfire raged through elkhorn ranch, the sudden loss of pasture became a serious problem for a family business. faced with horses that needed feeding and a texas drought that sent hay prices soaring, the owners had to act fast. thankfully, mary miller banks with chase for business. and with greater financial clarity and a relationship built for the unexpected, she could control her cash flow, and keep the ranch running. chase for business. so you can own it. brand sleep deprived. . bring us those who want to feel well rested and ready to enjoy the morning ahead aleve pm. the first to combine a sleep aid... plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. for pain relief that can last until the am. so you... you...
we have to do more than just say we care. or say we put our -- a woman on a $10, although that's a good idea. we got to make sure they're getting some $10 bills. that they're getting paid properly. >> that was president obama last night at the congressional black caucus foundation's phoenix awards dinner. calling for action to address injustices facing women, not just tributes. the president's comments come just days after the republican debate when presidential candidates offered their responses to a question about what woman they would like to see on the $10 bill. only one woman received multiple
mentions. >> rosa parks. every day american that changed the course of history. >> i very much agree with marco it should be rosa parks. she was a principled pioneer that helped change this country, helped remedy racial injustice. that would be an hon or that would be entirely appropriate. >> rosa parks. i would go with that. >> rosa parks? really? i suspect they don't know who hoe is a parks was. i suspect the rosa parks they hope to enshrine is a tired old quiet seamstress who one day in 1954 just decided she was tired of jim crow. parks quietly submitted to arrest and stepped back and let men like martin luther king lead the movement. if this isn't an image you share, the real mrs. parks is the story in "the rebellious
life of mrs. rosa parks." in 1954 mrs. parks was not tired or old, she was a trained activist, an organizer who planned her disruption carefully. after montgomery she was neither quiet or invizbsible. she opposed the vietnam war and u.s. complicit with south african apartheid. she opposed clarence thomas and condemned the militarized response of the u.s. government following the attacks on september 11th. in short, parks was, as theo harris characterizes her, a life-long critic of american racial and social\s and the interlocking nature of economic and interracial injustice. when the presidential candidates fall all over himself's to nominate rosa parks for the $10 bill, they aren't talking about the real rosa parks.
they mean a fully sanitized is h dp historic illusion of parks. we render black women as selfless saints or tireless background laborers or compelling adjuncts to the men who did the real complicated and strategic work of building the nation. which is precisely the point president obama made last night as he traced the nation's history through the leadership of black women. >> women organize marches. even if they weren't allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day. doing the work that nobody else wanted to do. they couldn't always prophecy from the pull pits but they led the charge from the pews. >> women made the. movement happen. of course black women have been
a part of every great movement in american history. even if they weren't always given a voice. >> we must not marginalize the centrality and contributions of black women in our country. or else we're going to reduce our understanding of who we are as a nation, how we got leer and how we continue to chart a path forward. joining me now, jean theo harris, you a thoauthor of "reb life of rosa park." did the name in the gop debate drive you incredibly nuts? >> rosa parks' three new fans. i mean they reduced -- but i think this is a trend we see. she is reduced to somebody who makes us feel so good about ourselves as a country, when the actual rosa parks to the end of her life is saying there's so much more work to be done.
across her life working on criminal justice issues, across her life talking about poverty, talking about welfare rights, across her life saying unions are necessary, across her life talking about health care. across her life talking about u.s. foreign policy. across her life talking about the death penalty. so when they say they want rosa parks on the $10 bill, that's what they're saying because that's what -- that's who she is. if we're going to look at rosa parks on the $10 bill, that's what we're looking at. >> put the actual parks out there, not this imagined and sanitized one. >> right. >> part of what's interesting to me there is then so what is sat stake? when the president talked about the march on washington and says all of these women have done all this work, tlen got reduced to fewer than 140 words. pe says that might seem familiar to some of you in this audience. what happens to us if we don't know parks and cooper and daisy bates and all the rest of them? >> it is interesting because
when you listen to the rhetoric in his speech, one thing i'm thinking about is how he is standing there being able to deliver the content of that speech because of all of this behind the scenes work of black women activists and organizers, girls for gender equity, kimberly crenshaw, the why we can't wait campaign. when he came out with my brother's deeper and black women were up in arms saying what about the girls, that was over a year ago and he was resistant. now here we are in this moment. so he is a shining example of black women working behind the scenes to move these official formal leaders to be more inclusive. but also that history lesson is important because we're on the brink of a new movement now that is trying to figure out what its own position on leadership is and so making sure that we're clear that any of our racial justice movements in this country are better for the thinking of black women who work behind the scenes and don't make demand visibility is incredibly important.
>> this black lives matter point, part of taking part in the cbc was watching people coping with, address, manage, the thing that is this youth-based movement of black lives maertd. it a terrible historical kind of question to ask but i'm wondering what sort of response the real rosa parks might have had to the thing that is the black lives matter movement? >> there is no question where we would be -- that is with black lives matter. if you see her across her life one thing she consistently does is say youth, young people are going to push us forward really admiring the militancy of youth. in 1967 after the detroit uprising, three men are killed in the algiers motel. the black community holds a militant police tribunal to hold the police officers sort of on trial because they have not been indicted because the press is not following up. who's on the jury of that tribunal? that's rosa parks inner 50s.
young militants call her, ask her will you be there? if she says if i can be helpful, i will be there. i think she gives us a model for how older generation of middle aged generation sort of comes into this movement which is if i can be helpful, i will be there. >> if i can lend my credibility. on this question of the images that we draw, i want to just indulge one more minute here on the president talking about the first lady and the challenges she has in navigating images. let's just take a listen to that. >> michelle, our outstanding, beautiful first lady, talks about these struggles. michelle will tell stories about when she was younger people telling her she shouldn't aspire to go to the very best universities. and she found herself thinking sometimes, well, maybe they're right. even after she earned two
degrees from some of the best universities in america, she still faced the doubts that were rooted in deep social prejudice and stereotypes, worrying whether she was being too assertive, or too angry, or too ta tall. i like tall women. >> so that little off-hand -- i like tall women -- later he talks about if we don't invest in black women we'll use the serenas, we'll lose the michelle bomb obamas. there was something about that that felt pumpsly trying to reclaim a more equitable space. so even though the first lady was not one of the people speaking, the president giving voice to the first lady through this, it just felt like part of this reclamation, not just an image but a real person here. >> it is just wonderful of those affective moments in politics
where we get to talk about the pain that black women experienced because of these stereotypes, the angry black woman stereotype or the "you're not good enough," or this question of qualification or merit. so this sort of reclaiming. and here is why it is important -- because rarely do we have black men stand up in public spaces and say that the things that black women labor under matter, that they should matter for politics. >> my colleague and best friend blair kelly has often said one of the reasons that african-american turned out in record numbers for the president is because his wife was as tall as him, as smart as him and black from a distance. thank you to brittany cooper. gina's going to be next. back in our next hour pmp. up next, an update on the community activists who have been going hungry for education. i've smoked a lot
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feel like this. with dreamwalk insoles, turn shoes that can be a pain into comfortable ones. their soft cushioning support means you can look like this. and feel like this. dreamwalk. two weeks ago we brought you the story of a dozen chicago residents who had lived for 20 days without solid food. in order to bring attention to the decision to close their
neighborhoods only high school. they took their fight straight to chicago mayor rahm emanuel disrupting two town hall appearances to make sure the mayor got their message. it is now been a full month since these activists began their hunger strike and yesterday, day 34, the strike came to an end. since we last spoke with the protesters, chicago public schools have announced that it would not close the south side's diet high school. but instead we open it as an art themed open enrollment high school. now for the activists the decision fell far short of their demands because what they wanted for their children wasn't just any school. after consulting with experts, parents and students and holding a series of community meetings, the coalition behind the push to re-open dyett came up with their own plan for an academy focused on green technology. the hunger strikers say it was overliked in the public school's system about dyett. while the hunger strike may be over, their struggle will
continue. from chicago, two of those activists. director of the journey for justice alliance, and jeanette taylor. can you tell me a little bit about the deticision to end thi portion of the hunger strike and rye sum eating? how did that come about. >> >> we realized mayor rahm emanuel would let us die on this hunger strike. so we decided that we all have work to do in the community. we still have responsibilities to our young people, to our schools, and so we decided to come off hunger strike and just continue to fight. this was a moment in the movement. >> okay. so talk to me a little bit. in a certain way you've had a within. dyett is not going to close but i understand that that doesn't feel like a full victory to you because of the green technology versus arts issue. part of what i wonder is, is this about the substance literally of wanting green tech
fl nology or about the arts? >> i think it is both. this hunger strike proved that there is no such thing as school choice in the black community. school choice is a farce. over 4,800 residents chose walter dyett global leadership and green technology high school. it was supposed to be a selection of three proposals. our proposal was overwhelmingly the best so the question is why not green technology. it's politics. local alderman sees us as a political threat, so instead of doing what's best for children they pulled an idea out of the air and said we'll make it open enrollment and make it a school and make it arts. but we are -- we have won several important victories. last year we stopped the school from closing and got a compliment to re-open it. this year we stopped the school
from being privatized which has never happen in chicago before. we also -- we will be at the table in regards to the design of the school and we know that district leadership is amenable to a green technology. we have a thriving youth-run farm right next to the school so we are willing to work with the district. we've always been willing to work with the district. the question is when will there be a respectful conversation with black parents? when will our voices matter like they matter on the north side? >> i am genuinely pleased that you all are eating again. as a team we've been talking about you all and following what you've been doing. but there's also no question that going to the extreme or intensity of a hunger strike is part of what drew the attention of national media to what you are doing. can you talk to me about what processes you see next, sort of what are the next steps that you need to take?
>> well, we have, as i mentioned, strong elected officials and members of rain w rainbow/push that are continuing to negotiate on our behalf so we will hammer out the details so that the community is satisfied and that this school meets the needs of our children. but i think there's also a very key battle in chicago and around the country. we stand in unity with those parents in new orleans who lost all their public schools. we stand in unity with those parents and young people in philadelphia when they closed 24 schools while they were building prisons. those are our brothers and sisters. and in cities like that which are primarily black and brown cities, we see the loss of voting rights. we see the fact that we don't have an elected a school board. we can't hold people accountable that can raise our taxes. so in these cities, we see that there needs to be an end to these schemes of appointed school boards, of bessy boards,
recovery school districts. that needs to end. also we are very committed to winning sto inning sustainable schools in urban communities around this country. the privatization movement must die because they have make -- they are making trillions of dollars off the back of what should be our of our children delivering what should be a human right. >> let me say this, i have no doubt that the sacrifices that you all have made over the course of this past month have communicated to your children and the children of chicago that there are adults in their community who love them and are willing to sacrifice for them. and that alone is an extraordinary gift to have given. thank you so much to you both in chicago. >> thank you for giving us this platform. we appreciate it. >> you gave it to yourself. you earned it. no doubt about it. up next, the college student who sparked a showdown just by showing up on this day 53 years ago. [ school bell rings ]
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on this day in 1962, james meredith tried to become the first black student to enroll at the university of mississippi. while the landmark supreme court ruling at brown versus board of education declared school segregation unconstitutional in 1954, many southern schools openly defied the ruling. when meredith applied to ole miss, his application was repeatedly refused. so finally, thurgood marshall and naacp legal defense fund filed a lawsuit on his behalf. the case reached the u.s. supreme court which ruled in meredith's favor. >> i'm acting as an individual, but i should hope that the outcome will affect a whole lot of people and even so much as america. i should think it would be important to america. >> but when meredith arrived at the campus in oxford,
mississippi under the protection of federal marshalls, an angry mob was there to greet him. along with the governor of mississippi himself. ross burnett and a vow rod segregationist declared meredith's attempt to enter ole miss the greatest crisis since the war between the states. in the televised address to his fellow mississippians, par net proclaimed, "mississippi will not surrender to the evil and illegal forces of tierry. no school will be integrated in mississippi while i am your governor." violent protests erupted. at least two people were killed and many others injured. eventually president kennedy sent a contingent of federal marshals and thousands of troops. amid the chaos the president addressed the nation and made it clear the law will be upheld. >> if this country should ever reach the point where any man or group of men, by force or threat of force, could long deny the commands of our court and our
constitution, then no law would stand free from doubt. no judge would be sure of his writ. and no citizen would be safe from his neighbors. >> by the morning after that address, mayor tit had registered in secret at the university of mississippi. though he would need the round-the-clock protection as a student, he did graduate less than a year later. after meredith left ole miss, his activism continued even in the face of danger. in 1966 he was shot and wounded by a sniper while on a one-man civil rights march from memphis to jackson, mississippi. today a statue of meredith is prominent on ole miss' campus. but last year in an echo of the ugly mast, a white student put a noose on the statue. just this week a former university of mississippi student who admitted to helping to noose that statue was sentenced to six months in prison on charges of attempting to intimidate african-american students and staff members. a reminder both of how much has
changed and how clearly the struggle continues since james meredith first attempted to integrate ole miss on this day september 20, 1962. coming up next -- the pope is coming to america and he's got mass appeal. and later, tv now in color. matt damon's moment of man explaining about hollywood diversity. play awesome party song. ♪ (phone ringing) what's up mikey?
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welcome back. i'm melissa harris perry. this tuesday pope francis arrives in america for a whirlwind tour. between visiting the white house and addressing the u.n. and meeting with school children and prisoners, he'll be giving the first ever papal address to a joint session of the u.s. congress. by all accounts, it is the hottest ticket in town. tens of thousands of people are expected to gather outside the capital to watch the pope's speech on jumbotrons and to hope to get a glimpse of the people's pope when he appears on a
balcony after his address. popes do love balconies. even if you're not catholic, it is going to make for some great television. the pope will be making folks on both sides of the aisle squirm in their seats. democrats if he articulates a strong opposition to abortion, and republicans if he supports broad immigration rights, aggressive aid for the poor, urgency of climate change and pretty much anything other than abortion. in other words, get your popcorn because this may be some great political theater. there also may be some political lessons from the bishop of rome if the parties are willing to listen. the catholic church is facing an existential crisis. though the number of catholics continues to grow, more than 1 billion and counting, the number of priests is not keeping up. in the u.s. fewer catholics are going to church. while thousands of parishes have no priest at all. to recover, the church needs more people in the catholic
tent. that may be part of the reason why you see pope friend sis reaching out to people the church has long shunned as egregious sinners. people who have been divorced or who had abortions or who are gay and saying there is a place for you here. it is a lesson the republican party would do well to learn because the gop may be facing its owni icicsis icexistential . the party's demographic base of older white voters is shrinking a is a share of the elent rat. pr while traditional democratic voters are growing. the republicans need to make their tent bigger as the party itself said after the 2012 race. "we must emphasize the importance of a welcoming, inclusive message, in particular when discussing issues that relate directly to minority group." but republicans may not have taken that lesson to heart. >> first of all, i want to build a wall. a wall that works. so important.
and it is a big part of it. second of all, we have a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside. >> we need to take the fingerprint of every person who comes in to this country on a visa. when they overstay their visa, we need to tap them on ot shoulder, say it is time for you to go. >> i am the only candidate on this stage who has never supported amnesty and in fact who helped lead the fight to stop a massive amnesty plan. >> a woman gets pregnant. she's nine months. she walks across the border, she has the baby in the united states. and we take care of the baby for 85 years. i don't think so. >> the catholic church, the republican party. very different organizations but they're making a choice. who's invited in, who is pushed out. now that question is an urgent one right now at a time when atoward coa according to the united nations, there are more displaced on
earth than at any time before. the pope's used his pulpit to urge governments and churches to take in these desperate refugees saying, "the closed couple, the closed family, the closed group, the closed parish, the closed country, that comes from us. it has nothing to do with god." through american's catholic bishops the pope's urged american leaders to have the same welcoming compassion for immigrants. prominent catholic bishops have visited the border with mexico, lobbied congress to reform the immigration system and have done it by framing it as a moral question. the congress that pope francis will address on thursday has not done that. it's not just republicans. the obama administration has also deported mo are than 1 million people and our country has taken in fewer than 1,500 refugees from the syrian war this year. even the decision to allow 10,000 new refugees in the coming fiscal year is a tiny
fraction of more than 4 million syrians who need a place to call home. it is in this context the visit of pope francis is more than a spiritual pilgrimage. may also be a call to action. thank you all for being here. i'm wondering if you can imagine the parties taking a page from the holy father's book and actually having a different discourse during and post papal visit around the issue of immigration. >> i certainly hope so. it is time for us to get our moral compass back. the debate over immigration has been high-jacked by hate speech. over the last few months we've seen the hypercriminalization of immigrants labeling mexican immigrants as drug dealers and
rapists and that's moved both parties to the rights in terms of the types of proposals in the way they talk about immigration reform generally. hopefully what the pope will do by speaking about these concepts of welcoming the stranger, about compassion, about human dignity will get us back on track to thinking about immigration reform, not in terms of putting up walls or forcing refugees back into the hands of persecutors but instead thinking about what we do about the people who are here and who are coming here in order to rejoin their families or flee from violence and creating a system that matches that need. >> this point to me feels so discordant with this new discourse, bipartisan discourse about criminal justice reform. on one hand we have democratic and republican candidates for office and current elected officials saying our prison system is bloated, it is too expensive, we're doing the wrong thing, we need to shift how we even think about who deserves to be in jail. at the same time, we're not really putting detention centers
or the criminality of identity on undocumented persons. that somehow is not really infiltrating into this conversation. you heard during the republican debate actually some pretty reasonable conversation about criminal justice reform at the same time that you heard this aggressive language that was anti-immigration and xenophobic. >> right. and that you see many of the policies that led to what we are talking about as mass incarceration that we have to change are policies that have led to the criminalization of immigrants. the way we see the issue of immigrants. and a refuse to sort of talk about it in moral terms. i think part of what the disjuncture is i think we've had a movement this year that's finally broken through and forced us to look at criminal justice as a moral issue and we have a movement in this country around immigrant justice that i think we need to take as seriously. >> this idea that the big tent strategy is a response to the
existential -- maybe long-term existential crisis -- right -- of the demographic shifts. it is something that for all of his faults and failings george w. bush recognized and articulated as a candidate more than a decade ago. what has gone wrong with the party? >> that's a good question. that's a great question. as a catholic and an immigrant, i was actually from trinidad myself -- and though of course i'm here meaning i'm not in church so this is your -- >> it is my fault. i'm sorry. i will do penance later. >> but it is interesting. i mean it was george w. bush who was pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in 2006, 2007. though actually kind of behind the scenes senator barack obama was sort of undermining, frankly, some of that for certain political reasons. and now you've got to split.
you do still have jeb bush who wants something like comprehensive immigration reform, marco rubio still wants that. the base though is kind of pushing away from it because i think at the base level, voters believe that immigration -- illegal immigration is costly and they see it as a legal/moral, if you will, issue of people who have come in here who haven't played by the rules and we're being asked to take them in. again, i believe in kind after comprehensive approach myself but that's where the voters are and you are starting to see the candidates respond to that. >> this is not a small point. we frame this as a moral issue, as a question that the pope standing there from the vatican can make a series of recommendations about how we ought to act. but the brass tacks of it will consistently come down to question of how we frame whether or not this is toft costly.
part of the bipartisan consensus around criminal justice reform is about cost. a lot of it is moral arguments but a lot of it is, man, it got too expensive. i'm wondering if the immigration rights movement cannot only employ moral discourse but also a kind of economic cost/benefit analysis to shift this sort of perspective? >> well, absolutely. there is a humongous cost when it comes to deportation and detention in this country, both the costs in terms of the system as a whole, as well as the cost to the family members who are left behind. i think people forget because of the demonization of immigrants they start to think of them as completely separate from american society when they're entirely integrated. you have mixed status families that are living here. when you deport a breadwinner and caregiver from this country you are leaving behind their family. than has a cost as well. but even if you look at this issue of detention where you see the synergies of the mass incarceration system in the criminal justice movement being
used here in the immigration system and you think about alternatives to detention that are far less costly when you are spending maybe $160 or more a day detaining an individual for months or potentially years, when alternatives to detention which are far more humane can cost as little as $17 a day or even a matter of cents when you are talking about community-based alternatives which are the best ones that put people back in the community with their families. certainly in terms of costs, what we hear being proposed of these mass deor theations putting people on trains out of the country would cost a tremendous amount. billions of dollars to our economy at a huge human and financial cost. >> stick with us, we'll stay right on this topic. up next, arrested at the doctor's office over a driver's license. when a wildfire raged through elkhorn ranch, the sudden loss of pasture became a serious problem for a family business. faced with horses that needed feeding and a texas drought that sent hay prices soaring,
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this week demonstrators gathered outside of a hospital in houston, texas to protest the arrest of an undocumented woman while she awaited a doctor's appointment. the immigrant from mexico, who has lived in the u.s. for more than a decade, went to see her gynecologist for a follow-up appointment according to her daughter. now she gave clinic staff her insurance card and what authorities say was a fake driver's license. hospital officials say staff called the police to verify the license. the woman waited in the clinic for two hours, the doctor says. but instead of seeing a doctor, she was arrested, placed in handcuffs, and escorted by a sheriff's deputy out of the clinic in front of her two daughters. the youngest of whom is 8 years old. she was charged with tampering with a government record and held in jail for nearly two weeks before activists could make her $35,000 bond.
at vid advocates with the texas organizing project say they worry this will diskoernlg undocumented women from seeking necessary medical care. the hospital says it is reviewing procedures but it doesn't discriminate based on immigration status. really? >> fun times in texas this week. >> right. and the governor of texas's response to this via tweet was texas is cracking down on illegal immigration. like you just -- no. the response is -- >> i mean i'm all for cracking down on illegal immigration. if she's got -- if she's got fake documents and so forth, that should definitely be addressed. but you are in my view kind of sending the wrong signal if you're bringing the cops in when people are supposed to be getting medical care because if it's -- if somebody has
communicable disease or something like that, then they're afraid to go to a doctor, then that kind of spreads, that creates i think a broader medical problem. i don't think this was handled in the right way here. >> but it does feel linked to discourse. right? when we start using the language of -- so if someone has a fake i.d. and uses that to procure alcohol for children, or uses that to pass a bad check, but she was going to the doctor so even if it is a thing that is a breaking of the rules, it is very hard to imagine why that would therefore lead to an arrest. it does bring in this kind of full criminalization. i am wondering what the pope would say in this moment that when someone comes to seek medical care our response as a government is to arrest them. >> no you this is exactly the kind of overcriminalization we've seen throughout all different sectors. this is the intersection of the problems with our criminal justice system, the immigration
system, reproductive justice. to have women be afraid to go to a doctor's office and instead see a police officer who is in many instances acting pass a de facto immigration agent. the medical office that owns this clinic says we don't turn over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities and they say there are certainly privacy laws that protect people against that. but this is the predictable result of having no policies that put separate roles for the local police and immigration officials because when they called the police they were, in essence, calling immigration. >> this feels to me -- in part because you use the language of reproductive justice. every time we use the lie of ang co anchor babies -- we know american-born children of undocumented children are not anchors. their parents are deported all of the time. even if they remain as citizens their parents are reported. the other piece of reproductive
justice we don't always talk about, if one decides to have a child, even if one is living in poverty, that we provide a sufficient social safety net to raise and rear that child. that's also a reproductive issue. >> 38% of african-american children live in poverty today. 30% of latino children live in poverty today. 22% of american children broadly live in poverty today. and if we look at what's happened 20 years ago, bill clinton signed welfare reform. hillary clinton praised it. hillary clinton praised it again in 2008. and yet what we see is when welfare reform passed, 72% of families with poor children were getting public assistance, that's down to 28% now. this is a moral issue. i think what we've seen the pope say over and over is poverty is a moral issue and not just poverty but not supporting the
poor is a moral issue. so i think he's speaking to democrats and i think he's speaking to hillary clinton and asking for -- >> it certainly does seem everyone will be squirming in their seat. not that we should ever govern based on what any one religious leader or group suggests. thank you to you all. up next, the latest on the pope's journey as he makes his way to america. and also still to come -- why matt damon's take on the university sparked the hashtag damon's flamin'. it really made the difference between a morning around the house and getting a little exercise. and i tried a baking class. one weekend can make all the difference. only depend underwear has new confidence core technology for fast absorption
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pope began his journey yesterday by praising the resumption of diplomat relations between the united states and cuba a breakthrough he helped make possible. nbc news has this report on today's events in havana. >> reporter: this morning the pope held his first mass in cuba in revolution square right next to a giant portrait of yet another argentinean icon. in front of hundreds of thousands of excited cubans. the government put the number to more than a million. before the mass the pope toured the square on his pope mobile. he was kissing children and the disabled. but there were also some dramatic moments. we understand two or three people were dragged away while they tried to throw liquids at the leaflets at the pope mobile. we believe it was in some way related to civil or human rights issues that have not been addressed by the pope yet during
his trip in cuba. in the afternoon he will meet the president, raul castro, once again after he met at the airport yesterday upon his arrival. but the real highlight of the day may come from a meeting with his brother, fidel castro. now that's not on the aagenda bt the vatican says it could happen. it could happen today. >> thank you. still ahead -- "vanity fair" could not find any funny women so i'm bringing a few of them to my table. yet up to 90% fall short in getting key nutrients from food alone. let's do more... ...add one a day men's 50+. complete with key nutrients we may need. plus it helps support healthy blood pressure with vitamin d and magnesium. ♪ [ female announcer ] everything kids touch at school sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. you handle life; clorox handles the germs.
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what's up mikey?ringing) (beep) play awe♪ome party song. hey buddy i heard you're having a party. what? if i was having a party, i'd invite you. would you? yeah. (phone ringing) oh! i got another call. adam: i'm not having a party! hey chris what's up! you heard about adam's party man? it's going to be crazy. i knew it! (beep) find the closest party store... introducing app-connect. (google voice) here are your directions. michael: i'm gonna throw my own party. the things you love on your phone, available on 11 volkswagen models. vapt fa"vanity fair" set of firestorm this week when they showed us the guys who are making late night comedy better than ever. the internet was having none of it. people instantly noted how glaringly how homogenous the titans of late night were. the magazine's photo sparked so
much outrage, not because it offered some new offense but because it snapped into focus what we basically already knew -- even with the prime time success of funny women like tina fey and amy poehler, late night is as much a boy's club as it ever was. late night writing staffs are notoriously mostly male and white. progress in changing that is slow. according to one source, bill maher's show has only one credit the writer in 13 years. in 2014, john oliver's show inis it gatinstigated a unique blind submission system resulted in 2 writers of 9. even open minded stephen colbert doesn't quite practice what he preaches. look at this clip from his show last friday. i'm not sure if you can quite
tell, but on colbert's wrist, you'll miss it if you aren't looking closely, but he is wearing a bracelet on his right wrist. it says "black lives matter." now it was a subtle but unmistakable show of solidarity with the movement. it's disappointsing then that according to the comedy website, splitsired, there is not a single person of color on his writing staff. not one. last month colbert wrote for a piece in "glamour" in which he promised his iteration of the late show would "celebrate women voices." he went on to say this essay has proved that i have an authentic female perspective because it was written by two of my female writers. turns out he only has 2 out of 19. jamie stoler, and danielle moody
mills. i am sorry, the president kept me up late with intersectionality. but look, there is something for me about this idea. in addition to like just me being jealous about the fact that colbert has 19 writers. but that it just -- you would look around the room and not notice that women and people of color are missing. >> right. i think part of why that happens is writing staffs are largely made up of people that that person has worked with or they know. so it seems like people keep hiring the same people. it is really hard to get your foot in the door with comedy writing. >> this is not a small point. right? you look at that image or hear these numbers. sounds like there is a conspiracy and everyone is sitting around at table deciding to keep the women and the blacks and browns out. but it is actually like just the culmination of all these little tiny individual decisions. >> they don't think about it. that's the problem. they don't think. people that occupy the mainstream -- we know that white men do -- that they don't think about what that picture looks
like, whether it was -- oh, there are no women in this. no, they were just celebrating themselves. they don't think about race and who's not in the room or who should be in the room because it's not something that -- they're not forced to think about gender every day or in race. of course they'll have the good old boy's club because that's what they know, that's what they've come from. >> is there an argument that having to be forced to think about oppression and intersectionality just isn't funny. what we want to be able to do is be funny. this isn't news writing, my friend, this is comedy. >> how could there be a woman in the picture? there's no women on late night. >> and none are funny. >> chelsea handler. >> so is amy schumer and so is amy. it. doesn't make any sense. the whole idea that we don't have -- this is the same thing that they said when barack obama went into the presidency because you can say the same thing about politics and pop culture at this moment, when president barack obama went in there were where did all of these black people
come from? that can do all these fancy jobs? like where did they come from? it was just like, oh, because he went to go and find those people. >> but this also comes back here. it is not a small point. that in fact when we hire, i think about even when we book the show, there are an inordinate number of college professors who show up on this show in a way that probably aren't other shows -- but that's because those the are the people i know. my people are being loo being at me, like another college professor? like it is interesting that that's precisely the reason that women -- that people of color in these sort of decision making positions matter all the way down the pipeline. >> absolutely. i mean we're talking about writers. we're talking about bookers. as a stand-up comedian, there are people who write the show, people who host the show but i want to tell jokes on the show. there are a lot of peach behind the scenes and a lot of ways that women need to be included. >> i found the "glamour" article disappointed
retrospect it seemed like lip service. i love colbert and i think he's a feminist. i don't doubt that. but i'd like to see him more than words. >> i get it. part of it for me is just the idea this response is there's no one in the pipeline. is there anything to that argument that the pipeline is in fact insufficiently heteroge heterogeneous? >> i daily show job was offered to women who said no. it is not as if -- we could have very well had a woman on the show but amy schumer said no. >> she said she was unqualified right now. >> she said lean away from me. >> which is what a lot of women say. they say, okay, well men apply more to these jobs and that's why we hire them, because women
don't apply. but ask yourself when you create this type of environment, why aren't they applying? what kind of climate are you creating that is disallowing them to want to show up? right? because who wants to walk into a writing room and be the only one? nobody wants to carry that burden. it's not fair. >> i also like your point about the idea of feeling unqualified. in politics, too. often we see that women feel like they have to be sort of have three degrees before they're willing to run and that young men, if they feel pretty talented and smart, i can figure it out, will run out of high school. thank you to you all. up next, the new fall tv season is mao in color. take note, matt damon. i've smoked a lot
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make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. you handle life; clorox handles the germs. you handle life; when you're not confident you have complete visibility into your business, it can quickly become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at&t's innovative solutions connect machines and people... to keep your internet of things in-sync, in real-time. leaving you free to focus on what matters most. t tonight the 67th annual emmy awar awards. some strong contend efforts include anthony anderson from nbc's "blackish" for outstanding
lead actor in a comedy series. viola davis in "how to get away with murder" and of course, "empire's" outstanding lead actress in a drama series. now it was about a year ago when this show launched a franchise we call "tv now in color." what was the inspire ace? the launch of shows like "blackish," "how to get away with murder," and others adding diversity to the casting we typically see on television. throughout the year many of those shows have been dominating the ratings. for example, every episode of "empire" saw more viewers than the last whole first season! the series started with a whopping 10 million viewers and 17 million turned in for the last hour of the season one finale making it the most watched show on television that week. now the show certainly is striking a chord with viewers as it portrays the life of a black hip-hop mogul, his journey from poverty to welt and his
complicated relationship with his family. who is responsible for bringing us such colorful content? this diverse group of 12 writers. they were once described as "a really cool blend of america." this week actor and filmmaker matt damon seemed to down play the importance of diversity. damon spoke with his team of successful writers, director and producers to choose the film making contestants best equipped to direct a $3 million feature prelim. the script in question included just one black character named harmony who was a prostitute and the female lead. effie brown, producer "dear white people" and 16 other major problems include damon and other panelists the importance of encouraging racially diverse
subject matter. damon interrupted her to make an argument against that choice and to explain way diversity in the industry works saying, "i think on the surface they might look like one thing but they might end up giving us something that we don't want." and when we're talking about diversity, you can do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show. joining my table, author of "the revolution was televised." changing tv drama forever. we j just saying, it ruined are jason borne for us this moment. >> i love jason borne. now it is ruined. there was two moments with that exchange, if you want to call it that with matt damon and effie brown that got to me. when matt damon missed the point of what effie brown was saying. he totally illustrated is effie
brown's point. like you are looking at it, like this is exactly what she's saying, matt. other part was that effie brown produced a great film called "dear white people" as you said. it was like a scene from "dear white people." don't tell the only black woman in the room how diversity works. it is this collision of what is wrong in hollywood. you think matt damon is this great progressive and seen he is clueless about it. >> damon issued an apology, saying my comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in hollywood and the fundamental nature of project green light which did not make the show. i'm shoer i offended some people but at the very least i am glad they started a conversation on diversity in hollywood. of course he didn't start that conversation. we've been having that conversation. >> when you say you're sorry that you offended somebody that that's not actually an apology. i'm sorry that you're offended but what i said was right which is what he said. matt damon, it is depressing because i love the borne series.
but he is just emblematic of hollywood. good white liberals who are not good actually on diversity and we need to be holding them accountable. it was just outrageous, the opticses of that scene with him cutting her off and saying it only matters in front and not behind misses the entire point. you cannot have a -- i also -- look. you look at "empire"'s staff of writers and what they have? you cannot have white writers write diversity. it is an experience they don't have. it allows to us have depth to stories that we need. >> so this point about sort of the notion of ideology of kind of liberal and being held accountable to diversity, part of the reason we started the block by talk uing about the ems is because of the idea here is that no matter what one's ideology, if what one looks is ratings and cash at the box office, there's actually a lot of evidence that diverse casts and diverse staffs lead to
consumers warranting to take it, have it. >> but what happens is it's insane where you have these successes like an "empire" or like a "how to get away with murder," and the industry looks at them as anomalies. like, okay, audience came for this but they're not going to come to a lot others. i think it is changing a little bit. you are seeing with the development last season and some shows put on this season it is getting a little bit better but the industry just doesn't want to accept that there's money there. >> so that's weird to me. i had someone sorts of whisper in my ear one day, you know how this works, when a network is down, it puts on a lot of shows of color and casts of color, builds itself back up, tlen it will immediately eliminate those shows. i thought what? like -- i literally don't mean liberalism or ideology -- just why would you do that. >> african-americans shows have had to constant bely prove time and time again, white folks will watch us, black folks will watch
us. on that matt damon/effie brown thing. we've all been the only one when we're in the room. you saw for a second on camera, because the other panelists kind of jumped in agreeing with matt. you see her thought bubble like, you know what? i'm not going to argue. she just kind of gave up. we've all been there being the only one in the room. that really hit me hard transcending just hollywood. >> part of the reason to not be the only person in the room, part of it is sort of the voice but the other thing is we don't all agree with each other. i have a very diverse staff except for there aren't verisome men. vast majority of women, lots of women of color and they disagree. i mean sometimes like it gets real around the disagreement but that's part of what we hope brings whatever value we have in the show. >> that's what makes television and movies exciting. you go back to the box office and you say like oh, well these films, they actually gli money. the perfect guy, they won the
box office last weekend. >> they had -- >> i mean -- >> yeah, they won the box office. did anyone even say words in that movie? who cares! who cares! >> but they won. it is this idea that why don't networks want to invest in us and our stories? and why aren't we holding them accountable? and why aren't we saying, here's the thing? you're writing room could look like "empire" and what would those stories create and how amazing would that be that it l actually looks like america. i don't understand their logic especially when it comes to money. we know black people, latino people, lgbt people combined are like a $3 trillion spending group. why wouldn't you want to show us what we want to see? when we come back we're going to talk about one space where front and the back, all that, is all the black women. up next, the return of --
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last year when screenwriter director, producer and all-around boss shonda rimes added another production, they couldn't stop buzzing about her thursday night tv takeover. this week she's bringing back #tgit to celebrate entertainment weekly unveiled this exclusive shot of the 33 series regulars from grey's anatomy, scandal and how to get away with murder. this photo has nerdland pumped about thursday nights. when it comes to diversity and quality television, who does it better than the phenom behind the production company that owns thursday nights. shonda rhimes. she's like this different
creature altogether because of her dominance behind we were just looking at these numbers. when there's a woman who is a creator of the show, the percentage of women writers is almost 50%. if it's not a woman creator, you're down to 50%. >> i feel like we're in a television renaissance right now. not just because there are black shows on television but it's the way these characters are created. characters of color. they are complex, diverse, not just tropes and not being bogged down. you have to be a certain kind of way. olivia pope is with the president. gorgeous and fly. >> look at analise keating. the fact we have these nuance characters that are diverse that just -- it's beyond just the front end and back end. it's the characters there. they represent blackness as
well. their blackness is not invisible. >> like i totally agree. it's so incredibly diverse and so much depth. we don't have to be perfect anymore. and we still get nominated. they are still nominated tonight, and they are sleeping around and talking trash and doing all these things. they get to be full and complete human beings and a little faulted and flawed like we all are. that's amazing. >> i think they are faulted and flawed not like all of us are. >> you're right. >> actually different, like at a certain pont, what happens in olivia pope's world is not at all like what happens -- but that feels like part of the story here is that these stories and images are a little bit supersized in a way that allow us to enjoy them and enjoy even the racialized engendered pieces without it feeling like we're preached to. there's no message in each episode. >> shonda is reluctant to talk about issues of representation.
i'm a storyteller, entertainer. she has these incredibly diverse casts is about good story and the characters when they are black allowed to own their blackness but aren't solely defined by that. the fact there are so many people from different backgrounds means no one of themp has to stand in as the representation. you can have olivia be this complex and her father are a supervillain and cookie dress the way she does but also be the heroine of the show. you can do all of that when you have diversity. it's good storytelling sense. >> in addition to that, it also feels like it's -- we're talking about viewership and ratings. shonda rhimes taps into the other space that has overrepresentation. that's the overtweeting. i have a post-op this year. she's wrighting about this simultaneous experience of watching it but also social mediaing it and the way that generates this very different way of engaging.
>> go ahead. >> it blows up television. it makes it fun again. that's part of the renaissance you're talking about. we get to see people of color on tv but also get to be part of that experience. it's not just waiting until the next day and talking about it around the water cooler. we can be talking to shonda who has retweeted people and you lose your mind. you're watching it with us and we get to tell you x, y and z. >> i need to watch it then, at that moment. >> you want to experience it with the world. i don't think "scandal" could have happened ten years ago or "empire." and what's interesting is the other shows, "modern family," "mad men" they don't trend on social media every week. it's "empire," "scandal, "murder." it's this -- it's that intersection of art and of media that shonda land just knocks out of the park. >> it's in part because they're
so much bigger than life. part of the mad men is it's this representation of this american moment that was trobling and allows us to think about it and it's compolitilex. those things could and did happen. >> there is this thing. i think in part because it is so big. we can say, oh, olivia girl, don't trust him. >> there's a bigger thing here. >> shonda has a sense for these moments when analise will take off her wig. she's this great entertainer. and she came into the tv business through the side door. she didn't work her way up. wasn't on staff on a lot of other shows. she'd written a couple of movie scripts and has now built this empire with all of these other writers who have a chance to create their own shows. >> emmy predictions for tonight?
>> i want to say taraji, but i fear it's going to be robin wright. >> not that i don't love her in that role. that just gave me feelings. oh, all right. >> i would love viola. i think it's going to be taraji. even if it isn't taraji, we've already won. we don't need the emmys to validate taraji or viola. >> i'm going to wear full cheetah, leopard. >> i have one political question for you, danielle. are we -- we started the show and i asked senior adviser valerie jarrett why president obama decided to go full intersection to talk about black women. i wonder if shonda has demonstrated that she rates. >> he also lives with like the most bomb black woman on the planet who is just -- she is the living embodiment of fierceness.
>> the first lady is boss. that is our conclusion for today. >> thank you. that's our show for today. check out danielle's instagram for her full cheetah outfits for the emmys. come back next weekend. there will be live coverage of the pope's visit to america. stay tuned to msnbc for the latest. coming up "weekend with alex witt." if you struggle with type 2 diabetes, you're certainly not alone. fortunately, many have found a different kind of medicine that lowers blood sugar. imagine what it would be like to love your numbers. discover once-daily invokana®. it's the #1 prescribed in the newest class of medicines that work with the kidneys to lower a1c. invokana® is used along with diet and exercise to significantly lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. it's a once-daily pill that works around the clock.
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revolution square meets the pontiff. tens of thousands turn out in cuba to hear pope francis' historic message. we'll tell you what he said. new hope. another country says it's accepting more migrants, and they pile on trains in a further wave of desperation. new polls at least one candidate gains ground on the leader in the gop while the democrats battle it out in a key